The Government’s announcement that there will be £50m in funding to tackle a COVID-19 dentist backlog is welcome news.

As many people in Cornwall know, it’s rarer than hen’s teeth to be able to sign up to an NHS dentist these days.

In the last five years the South West of the UK alone has lost 199 of them, which I would say is very careless of them indeed.

However only £4,726,000 million of that £50m will come to the south west, the smallest amount in the country.

They say under the scheme extra appointments will be offered including outside of normal hours to treat people in the early morning, evening, and at weekends.

The funding will secure up to 350,000 additional dental appointments allowing people suffering from oral pain, disease, and infection to get the care they need, as services drive back to pre-pandemic levels.

Which is all well and good but if dental practices are struggling to fill NHS dentist positions because they can’t persuade dentists to take them, who’s going to cover all those extra appointments?

I have been at my current NHS dentist practice for nearly 20 years and even then they were hard to get into, but nothing like they are now.

In the past five years or so, well before Covid, my NHS dentist seems to have changed every six months!

I managed to get an appointment last year and get some important work done but he had to squeeze it all in before Christmas as he was leaving despite only just arriving! He told me I needed a check in three months with the new dentist, but the receptionist tells me they don’t even know if they’ll have one then so fingers crossed!

It might take more than £50 million to make it all better again.